Saturday, July 01, 2006

The first paragraph served to reinforce the notion of collective 'ethnic' identity and the accompanying belief in group victimization that defines the modern ideology of Serbian ultranationalism. Then, naturally, come the denials that 'the Serbs' have done any wrong at all. Now the stage is set for Johnstone's two-pronged attack on reality: The Serbs are victims of a vast Western plot in the name of 'globalization'; and they are innocent of any guilt in the Yugoslav Wars to boot.

In the second paragraph, the terms of the following interview are laid out. Johnstone's pseudo-objective thesis is cited as a defense of Serbian innocence even as she disingenuously applies her thesis to the Serbian example. Self-referential logic taken to an extreme.

First sentence:

In her book "Fool's Crusade", Diana Johnstone says that, "Unfortunately, disproving falsehood, especially established falsehood, is a hard task. What has been repeated over and over becomes ‘obviously true'…The collective fiction creates its own collective defense.

Divorced from any context, this is not necessarily an objectionable statement from Johnstone. Any reasonable person should be willing to concede that the conventional wisdom can be wrong, and that a misinformed consensus can be a dangerous thing. However, Johnstone is not operating in a vacuum. As we shall see, she speaks in the language of a universal defense of an abstract intellectual position in order to bolster a dishonest, particular viewpoint--namely, that the genocide in Bosnia is a fiction authored by an imperialist Western elite.

This establishes the pattern of Johnstone's approach--while she has, from the beginning, firmly cast her lot in with the Milosevic regime and the Serbian nationalist rebellion in Pale, she does not explicitly present her views as political in nature. Rather, she poses as a disinterested academic who is concerned about the broader implications of the demonization of the Serbian people and the Yugoslav state along with her sympathy for the misunderstood victims of globalization and imperialism. This gives her pandering a patina of intellectual integrity even while obfuscating the real issue--the political and military responsibility for genocide in Bosnia.

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